Distance to go:
Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.
Distances here are shown in statute miles.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest, highest-altitude continent on earth.
It’s situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean
At 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles), Antarctica is almost twice the size of Australia, and the same size as India and China combined.
It’s approximately 98% covered by ice, which is on average 1 mile (1.6km) thick. And the ice contains roughly 70% of the Earth’s fresh water.
Antarctica experiences 24-hour daylight in summer (October – February), and 24-hour darkness in winter (March – September). The sun sets in March for the winter and rises again in October. Ben and Tarka will face 24-hour daylight for the duration of their journey.
There are no permanent residents in Antarctica and no one ‘owns’ the continent, despite a number of territorial claims. It’s currently governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which outlines a set of principles that must be adhered to by residents.
The population swells in summer to several thousand scientists, researchers and other workers from around the world. It dwindles during the harsh winter as seasonal workers depart.
There are plenty of penguins, whales, seals, krill and even fish in Antarctica’s waters, but there are no land mammals,and, as far as scientists know, no native peoples.
The first known man to set foot on Antarctica was Henryk Bull in 1895. He landed at Cape Adare with a party from a whaling station.
The South Pole was first reached by a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen in December 1911 and famously, 33 days later by iconic British explorer, Captain Robert Falcon Scott.